Abstract 1, Volume 9, Number 1, Spring 2014

Authentic Pedagogy and the Acquisition of Lower Order Knowledge in History

Lamont E. Maddox

University of North Alabama

John W. Saye

Auburn University

This study examined the impact of varying levels of authentic pedagogy on student learning in select 9th and 10th grade history classrooms.  The sample included four junior high and four high school teachers.  During the initial phase of the study, instructional artifacts (tasks) and classroom observational data were collected and analyzed to determine the level of authentic pedagogy students experienced in their classes.  Participating teachers were assigned an authentic pedagogy score based on this analysis that was used as the primary independent variable in subsequent statistical analyses designed to evaluate student learning outcomes.  The findings suggest that the use of authentic tasks and instruction has a small, but positive correlation with student performance on the Alabama High School Graduation Exam in use at the time the study was done.  A performance benefit was also noted for students who experienced multiple courses at the moderate authentic pedagogy level.  The benefit, however, could be attributed to an advanced placement effect since advanced placement students in the sample were more likely to receive moderate authentic pedagogy.

Key Words:  Authentic Intellectual Work, Standardized Testing, Inquiry, Assessment, Secondary Social Studies, U.S. History

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